Friday, July 30, 2010

Bike Tour, Catacombs, and Eiffel Tower

Yesterday, our first full day in Paris, was a whirlwind of amazement!  In the morning, we had a scheduled bike tour with Fat Tire Bike Tours.  We had to meet at the Eiffel Tower at 11:00 am, so we grabbed some crepes for breakfast along the way (chocolate and banana is my favorite!).  We met our tour guide, Saydie, at the Eiffel Tower and waited for our group to assemble.  We followed Saydie to the bike shop to get fitted for our bikes, and then we were off!  It felt really good to be on a bike again -- I miss my bike!  This bike, however (named 'Picasso'), is a California cruiser... which means it has fat tires, wide handlebars, and a very big cushy seat.  (Think 'Wicked Witch of the West'!)  It was really comfortable to ride, but felt *so* different from riding my road bike that it took me a while to get used to it.  We rode around to various parts of the city for about 3.5 hours total, stopping along the way for some history and commentary on Paris.  Here are a few of the pics from the bike tour:

Our tour guide, Saydie

Ecole Militaire (Military School), where Napoleon was trained

Les Invalides (location of Napoleon's tomb)

Can't remember the name of this building  :)

Enjoying our bike tour....

Lunch break in the Jardin des Tuileries

Arc in front of the Louvre

Musee du Louvre

The bike tour was *amazing*!  Debo told me it would be my favorite thing to do in Paris, and I think he was right!  Loved it!  After the bike tour, Jared and I decided to visit Les Catacombes (The Catacombs).  Parisian cemeteries began becoming overcrowded, so in 1789 the French decided to uproot the bodies and move them into an underground burial place.  They used old stone mines as the storage location, giving us Les Catacombes.  There were lengthy stretches of nothing but bones.  It was creepy, and very, very cool at the same time.  There was no flash photography allowed, so some of my pictures came out blurry.  Here are the best ones I could get:

I realize it is creepy to be smiling in a situation
like this, but I couldn't help but get a self-portrait.

After exiting the winding, steep, and long (83 steps) staircase from Les Catacombes, Jared and I grabbed dinner at a cafe, then made our way to the Eiffel Tower.  We were determined to get to the top!  When we were standing in line to buy our tickets, the top level was closed due to congestion.  Luckily, we were able to buy tickets on the second level of the tower just an hour later, and made our way to the top!  The view is amazing, of course.  We timed it perfectly -- we were able to get up while it was still light out, watch the sunset, and wait until it was dark to see the lights of the city and watch the Eiffel Tower twinkling beneath us.  Simply divine!  Here are some pics:

Here is a short video of Jared
and I atop of the Eiffel Tower:

Here is a short video that I took on top of 
the Eiffel Tower at night, showing it
twinkling beneath us:

Words truly cannot describe what a perfect day this was!  J'adore Paris....

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